Certificate – 15
Directed By – Matt Peters, Christina Sotta
Starring (Voiced By) – Matt Ryan, Taissa Farmiga, Jerry O’Connell, Jason O’Mara, Stuart Allan, Tony Todd, Rosario Dawson, Shemar Moore, Ray Chase.
Running Time – 90 Minutes (1 Hour 30 Minutes)
For the past seven years and 14 movies, it was revealed that this current DC Animation Universe was coming to an end with Justice League Dark: Apokolips Wars. It was a bold move, due to the success of the franchise, but a smart one.
The only question I had going in was why was it a Justice League Dark and not ending how the universe began with Justice League. However, you shortly realise the title is meaningless on one hand but on the other a closer sequel to the 2017 original then it needed to be.
(Disclaimer – I know the film’s been out for a while, but I’ve just got round to watching it and wanted to share my thoughts.)
What Is Justice League Dark: Apokolips War About?
Culminating a seven-year animated journey that began with the release of Justice League War in 2014. Justice League Dark: Apokolips War finds Earth decimated after intergalactic tyrant Darkseid has devasted the Justice League in a poorly executed war by the DC Super Heroes.
Now the remaining bastions of good – the Justice League, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad and assorted others – must regroup, strategize and take the war to Darkseid to save the planet and its surviving inhabitants. This is truly the war to end all wars, and only the victor will live to enjoy the spoils.
Is It Any Good?
As I said above, I was confused by the use of the Justice League Dark in the title and thought directly calling it DC’s Apokolips War would’ve fitted better. I couldn’t be more wrong as it was closer to a sequel to the 2017 movie then it needed to be with the two main characters being John Constantine (Ryan) and Raven (Farmiga) from the Teen Titans.
In Constantine’s case, it’s about his heroes journey and finding redemption following the League’s defeat on Apokolips and could be seen as the magical Liverpudlian’s suicide mission.
Meanwhile, Raven plays a significant part in keeping the group alive. Still, also paying off her storyline with her father from 2016’s Justice League vs Teen Titans and gaining more powerful then she could ever realise.
That’s the main thing about this movie, similar to Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, this ties everything together from the past films and pays off character superbly like Robin/Damien Wayne (Stuart Allan) as you see him being the true heir to Batman.
So for the fans, it’s pure join to watch and catch Easter eggs, but more importantly, it works as a standalone as you’re able to understand the main thread of the film without fully knowing the winks and nods.
Staying with the cast, I’m happy to say (I’ve felt like this for a while) O’Connell is my favourite Superman voice actor and would be excited if he ever came back.
What this film did perfectly is showcase how terrifying Darkseid is as a villain, this was the first time I was scared of how ruthless and cunning he is as a leader and in some way isn’t defeated by the end.
In a lot of ways, Apokolips War takes a lot from Snyder’s arc for Justice League (and sequels) and what we’ve heard about David Ayer’s Suicide Squad having a New God. It is the darkest and most compelling animated movie Warner Bros and DC have ever done. I mean dark because the opening scene is just a bloodbath and I’ve never seen these movies go this far.
While it is dark, directors Peters and Sotta eject plenty of well-placed and generally funny comedy. Etrigan (Ray Chase) nearly steals the whole movie with this humour and then when you get to the Suicide Squad, comedy is on the way.
King Shark’s (John DiMaggio) comedic moments bring a smile by saying one word but also hinting to a past with Constantine. Speaking of which they’re a great exchange between himself and Captain Boomerang (Liam McIntyre) that will make every Englishman and Aussie smile.
Of course, Harley Quinn (Hynden Walch) brings the comedy in what is the craziest portrayal I’ve seen.
Finally, this is Frederik Wiedmann’s best score (on par with the Death short film), and the ending is wonderfully balanced and is the perfect bookend to Justice League: Flashpoint.
Anything Bad About The Film?
It’s only nip picky things, but I wish The Flash had more screen time with the being the character that started this whole universe. While they’re it plays a critical moment, the little showcase of the Green Lantern is also a shame.
As It Got Any Special Features?
Yes, it has plenty! From a couple of featurettes, animated TV episode, sneak peek at the next movie and the infamous short film.
- DC Showcase: Adam Strange (Animated Series) – Wasn’t sure what to expect, but an interesting sci-fi horror with hints to the new style the future DC Animated films could look like.
- Darkseid: New God/Evil Classic (New Featurette) – A short documentary on the history of DC (and comic books) greatest villains.
- Look Back: Justice League Dark
- Look Back: Batman and Harley Quinn
- From the DC Vault: Justice League Action – Zombie King
- From the DC Vault: Justice League Action – Abate and Switch
- From the DC Vault: Teen Titans – Nevermore
- A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe – Superman: Man of Tomorrow
A wonderful concussion to a universe of movies and highlights Constantine and Raven beautifully. Dark, violent and funny, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is a must of fans of the DCAU, and you will see the Snyder influence.